Scott Simon on Life Lessons Learned at His Mother's Deathbed

at 9:00 AM
 (Photo: Bill O'Leary)

"I'm getting a life's lesson about grace from my mother in the ICU." That's what NPR host Scott Simon tweeted from his mother's deathbed to over 1.2 million followers. In sharing an incredibly private moment so publicly, Simon sparked a groundswell of support and sympathy. In his new memoir, "Unforgettable: A Son, a Mother, and the Lessons of a Lifetime," he invites us to explore the bond between mother and son. Parents, he says, "understand that we don't fully grow up until some day we lose them."

Interview Highlights

On Not Fully Knowing Our Parents or Grandparents

"I'm aware of the fact that my daughters are emotionally going to grow up without knowing their grandmother. As parents, we look at our children and we can see them at all ages at once. I look at our daughter who is almost twelve and I see her when she was three, I see her when she was six. I think it's unfortunate with grandparents, and parents for that matter, that we see them just when we came into their lives. And we miss out on knowing them when they were younger, and maybe a little more vibrant, and hadn't had the world figured out, but were curious and searching. And we miss the process of growth with them, that they see in us."

On Doctors Not Being There for His Mom

"[My mother's] doctors were more or less invisible. ... Her doctors specifically, they just never came to the hospital. ... They were senior physicians who were outside, who would look at the data, they would look at the screens of laptops and say something to the residents, I presume. And I'm given to understand that they reported this data back to my mother's doctors. But  they never came there. And they were in the same hospital. What my mother needed, what she deserved, was a senior physician, someone who knew her, to take her hand and say, 'Pat, I'm sorry, we have no answers.' And she never got that. I had to do that."

Guests:

Scott Simon, author and host of NPR's "Weekend Edition"

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On Hillary Rodham Clinton Running for President

"[Hillary Clinton will be] very difficult, I think, although not impossible, to defeat in a primary. And for that matter, in the general election. The combination of her name and reputation and I think a sense that it might be time for a woman to be president of the United States -- that is maybe even more urgent than it was eight years ago -- all of that is going to be powerful on her behalf."

On Marco Rubio Announcing Candidacy

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"I think Senator Rubio might be a very strong candidate. I think he might suck up some of the money that Jeb Bush doesn't. And he's given some very thoughtful speeches recently on foreign policy. I think he obviously breaks into a new generation that anyone named Bush or Clinton doesn't. I think he could be a very strong candidate. And of course, there's Florida."

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